With CC going down for probably the rest of the season -http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2015/08/24/luis-severino-yankees-palladino/
Whether the Yankees make the playoffs or not, something good will have come out of this season. And we’re not talking about Alex Rodriguez and his semi-inspirational return from steroid jail at age 40.
No. This is about a 21-year-old kid who GM Brian Cashman refused to give up. By the time this is over, Luis Severino may prove that the moves a lifelong trader doesn’t make are sometimes the best.
Actually, Cashman didn’t have to bite down hard at all to resist his trade instincts and keep the right-handed Dominican. And Severino showed he was worth keeping around Saturday in a 107-pitch performance against the Indians that resulted in his first careerwin.
Looking past that, here is what the kid can contribute for the rest of this year and beyond.
Every team in the league needs a good dose of that, and the Yanks are no different. Having gone from running away with the AL East to looking up at Toronto in what seemed a half an eye blink, the rest of this season is sure to be a rocky ride. It’s bad enough that they failed to maximize the just-ended four-game series with the last-place Indians, but the road ahead is filled with winners, from the first-place Astros next up, to the Orioles and Blue Jays the second week of September.
Even two games with the Mets Sept. 18-19 now takes on the appearance of a potential powder keg to the Yanks’ playoff chances.
It’s entirely possible that Severino will have to shoulder a representative number of those starts, especially if CC Sabathia lands on the DL after injuring his knee and Michael Pineda’s rehabbed right forearm needs babying for the rest of the schedule.
One way or another, the Yanks appear to be in for a nail-biting final month, so an added shot of poise on the mound won’t hurt. And that is something Severino appears to have in surplus.
The kid impressed veterans like Carlos Beltran with his confident comportment in spring training. On Saturday, he impressed Joe Girardi when he got out of a two-on, two-out jam by getting Roberto Perez to ground out to Didi Gregorious.
He has a few control problems to iron out. And like any pitcher, he needs run support. The fact that he went into Saturday 0-2 wasn’t all his doing. The Yanks had scored just six runs in his three previous starts while he was giving up an equal number of earned runs in 17 innings.
Severino, of course, isn’t the only one who has no trouble with the size of a major league baseball game. Cashman’s other minor league gem, Greg Bird, is showing some poise of his own at the plate, having contributed two homers and six RBIs in the nine games since his Aug. 13 callup.
He provided all the offense in the Yanks’ 4-3 win over the Twins last week with a pair of two-run homers. And Girardi has already compared him to Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera, noting his “slow heartbeat” that indicates a quiet, professional confidence.
So while Severino adds his own uncommon brand of youth and composure every sixth day, Bird can do it every day as either a starter at first or, once Mark Teixeira comes back from a bruised leg, as a bat off the bench.
Rookie can never be relied on to bring a team over the top. But between Bird and Severino, the Yanks might just regard their final stretch as a little less daunting as they try to hang onto the division.
Especially with Severino.
It’s always nice to run a kid out there who thinks he owns the joint.